Today I present a profile of one of my Panellists (who, as a group, help me with various aspects of mentoring the young writers) as a build-up to the young writers Aust / NZ annual conference on Saturday 13 September. Tony Dunkerley is in the corporate sector and top soccer and these are his own words.
This has stirred up so many memories of my first 20 years as a young boy growing up in the most difficult years 1940-1960 in Europe, the loss of all the males in our family for at least 5 years and in my father's case, he never returned to my Granny, my Mother or me, as he went on a whole new life on his own .
It was a battle , but full of love that only I guess now women can give but we were poor and yes it was tough but I never felt different to all the other kids. Even when they took us all away from Glasgow and put us on an island called Largs a few miles from Glasgow where we lived for a long period of time whilst Glasgow was being bombed in WWII. Mum and Granny visited at weekends. I can see the ferry coming over now on the Saturday !!
I'm glad I do not remember it going back on a Sunday. I had a stepfather at 12, a brother at 14, and Praise the Lord a late sister at 18 - which were all highlights of the little house in an interesting area in Leicester where we lived. It has re-stirred many memories some happy - a lot of sad ones- lots of people I wish I had been able to ask for forgiveness for hurting them by leaving England at 21.
Throughout all those years I flirted with Jesus, knew about him, went to various Church Youth Groups and played football for many of them but also I left him when as a young rebellious teenager and became a "Why Me" young man possibly saw James Dean in "Rebel without a cause" too many times!!
I left everyone I knew and loved and went to London for the first time, to catch an aircraft to be a 10 Pound Pom Migrant to Australia in 1962. Why? Was it to let the new family at home become a happier unit without me around? How could I leave my Mother, I see her now crying at the Midland Road Railway station as the train pulled out and her distraught face haunts me even now and the tears in my eyes as I type this are warm and stinging. Bless you Mary McPhee McDonald Nicol who became a Dunkerley!!
I cannot carry on as the emotions are so strong, I am upset, my head tells me stiff upper lip, you did it, you made it, you are successful, it had to be done but it ripped her heart out that day !!
In your life, if you can ask for forgiveness then be prepared to forgive, be honest enough to admit it is not just about 'me', be honest enough to throw away all the papers and documents that you have stored to convince you that you were right and those people who hurt and criticized you were wrong. I have only just done that with my files, lots and lots of files !!.
Australia has been a life saver, the land of opportunity, the land of rewards if you work extra hard, the land of amazing mix of cultures which seem all mono based even still but somehow generally there is a Harmony.
But as Sam Burrows said there is a peaceful awareness of who you are in New Zealand which I am not sure is here yet. Still sobbing so have to stop, people are due in my office soon, my faith is stronger than ever due to my involvement with Well-Being Australia's Dr Mark Tronson and him letting me part of the vibrant intelligent hard working well meaning clever young writers of New Zealand and Australia.
In my business life I went on to become an MD of a UK based multi-national, coaching national, state and local junior soccer teams, become the President of Football Victoria, the Commissioner for Junior Football, mentor to young people, husband, father and grand father (Pa).
I have been on many Country Town Tours around Australia with our Well-Being Australia mission team providing coaching clinics and speaking at youth rallies, youth services and sports dinners. In my mentoring experience Mark Tronson invites me to be part of the young writer conferences.
I am part of the Prayer Team at our local Dingley (Melbourne) Anglican Church who come together when called upon for such a purpose, often 8.00am of a week day morning, witnessing many miraculous outcomes. Jenny my wife went through cancer operations a few years ago. Tony has seen and been part of it all.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at